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"X" Marks the Hero

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Probably the most iconic and distinctive form of a Good Scar, this scar consists of two clean, intersecting cuts that form a cross or X on the hero's face. Generally, it serves to imply that the hero has been through quite a few skirmishes while making them look badass.

How the hero got such a scar is usually not explained. Part of our brain tells us that getting such a scar in battle is highly unlikely, if not impossible, unless they're deliberately inflicted, such as in torture. Another common possibility, rarely addressed, is that the two scars which form the X had been inflicted in different instances. Don't confuse with "X" Marks the Spot, which is the phrase this trope was named after.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Mikage from 07-Ghost in both incarnations.
  • While not the main character (just his boss), Saki Vashtal of Area 88 has an X scar on his forehead. In the manga, it's revealed to be self-inflicted after a disastrous attempt to make peace.
  • Manji of Blade of the Immortal sports several on the right side of his face, caused by two horizontal scars and one vertical scar running through his right eye, causing him to be blind on that side.
  • Teppei Takamiya of B't X has one on his forehead, in which he claims that he got it from intense training.
  • Captain Miria from Claymore came Back from the Dead sporting an X-shaped scar across her face and looking more badass than ever.
  • In Dogs: Bullets & Carnage, Naoto has one on her chest.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Yamcha has one starting with the Piccolo Jr. arc.
    • Goku's father, Bardock, also had one of these. While he can't exactly be called a good guy, he was the closest thing there was to an actually heroic Saiyan at the time.
    • The rebooted version of Broly has one on the left side of his chest.
  • Thatz in Dragon Knights has a small cross-shaped scar on one cheek and a larger slash mark across his face.
  • Juumonji from Eyeshield 21 sports one. He is a Delinquent Jerk with a Heart of Gold. His father has the same scar, though in a different place. Hero marks are apparently genetic in the Eyeshield 21 universe, though given everything else that is perfectly acceptable.
  • Veronica Maradaki from Franken Fran sports an X stretching across her whole face composed of stitched scars.
  • Double subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist. Scar, who has one of these across his forehead, starts out as a He Who Fights Monsters-style Anti-Villain, but the ensuing Character Development slowly turns him into an Anti-Hero instead.
  • Full Metal Panic!'s Sousuke Sagara has had one of these since he was at most twelve-years old (and likely younger). It's origins have yet to pop up, but fanon suspects that they were inflicted during torture. Humorously, his Bonta-kun costume has the same scar.
  • Apollo from Genesis of Aquarion has one on his cheek. It's never mentioned how he got it.
  • Gin from Gintama has one after the Time Skip.
  • Katanagatari's main character has this by the end of the series, though it is explicitly shown how he got it. From intentionally taking two bullets to the face and body.}
  • Non-action manga example: Sentaro from Kids on the Slope has a small X-shaped scar under his left eye to show that he used to get into a lot of fights.
  • Ferio from Magic Knight Rayearth has one, but he's hardly the main hero.
  • Domon Kasshu from Mobile Fighter G Gundam has such a scar, the origins of which are mostly unexplained. It's a quick indicator of his ten-year Training from Hell. A gag manga "reveals" that it's actually marker that Master Asia drew on his face as punishment for messing up during said training, and he messed up so often that it became permanent.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: The injury that awakened Katarina's Past-Life Memories and set her down the path to becoming the story's protagonist left her with an X-shaped scar on her forehead (though it fades after several years).
  • Subverted in Naruto where Danzo has one of these on his chin. Maybe.
  • One Piece:
    • While Vice-Admiral Doberman is a villainous character, he stands out for having no less than six X-shaped scars scattered across his face and neck.
    • Coby also got one above his right eye at some point while training with Garp. It helps show that he Took a Level in Badass.
    • Anti-hero X Drake has one on his chin.
    • Laboon, a whale, is covered in x-shaped scars from his attempts to destroy Reverse Mountain by bashing it with his head.
    • After the Time Skip, Luffy also has a huge X shaped scar on his chest. He got it from Admiral Akainu during the war at Marineford. If you check him out while Jimbei is carrying him, you can see it's still fresh.
  • Ginji from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Ginji's Rescue Team is a boy with a large x-shaped scar on his forehead. He keeps this when he gets turned into a Torchic.
  • Bean Bandit from Riding Bean — and its successor, GunSmith Cats - sports one centered right between his eyes.
  • Tsukune Aono from Rosario + Vampire has a huge one on his chest, among several smaller scars. Got it from a random Mook, but it also marks the first time he released his ghoul powers without Moka's aid. Incidentally, said Mook is a graffiti artist, so the X-cut might have been a deliberate stylistic choice.
  • The poster child and provider of this trope's page image is Kenshin Himura of Rurouni Kenshin fame. The cross-shaped scar is associated with him so utterly that characters with this scar are regularly accused to ripping the idea from him, even if they predate him by years. Unlike many examples, Kenshin's scar proves to be from two separate incidents. In the anime, the second one was deliberately inflicted so as to make it an X.
  • Sora from Shitsurakuen has one of these.
  • Takuto Tsunashi in Star Driver has an X-shaped Mark on his chest.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Kittan is a hero, not the hero, and has an X-shaped scar on his arm.
    • And let's not forget Viral, who has one across his chest.
  • Wolf's Rain's Tsume also has one on his chest that Toboe asks about, though Tsume ain't exactly eager to talk about it...

    Comic Books 
  • One Marvel comics character, Agent X, was distinguishable early on for these scars across his face. After being healed of these during a quasi-mystic ritual, he disappeared for a while. When he came back later on, the scars were back; he apparently carved them back on himself!
  • Cable has one over his eye, although sometimes it's drawn with 3 lines instead of just 2.
  • Crossed: The titular Crossed have cross-shaped scar tissue to mark their being contaminated.
  • The "hero" of Just a Pilgrim has a cross-shaped scar over his eye. It's not the result of a cut, instead he pushed a heated crucifix into his face when he thought God broke him out of prison.
  • Inverted in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Boom! Studios). The post-Time Skip arc introduces Dayne, an alien assassin on Lord Zedd's payroll with a prominent x-shaped scar.
  • John Hartigan of Sin City: That Yellow Bastard has an X-scar on his forehead.
  • Inverted in White Sand — X-shaped scar on the forehead marks the fanatic warrior-priest daikeen who want to murder the hero.

    Fan Works 
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    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • In the latter books of The Dark Tower, Callahan has a cross-shaped scar. It was a memento from two would-be killers, who had tried to carve a swastika into his forehead, but were interrupted.
  • Redeemed Ulic Qel-Droma, from the Tales of the Jedi series, has this scar on his forehead.
  • Ripred gets this type of scar near the end of Gregor and the Code of Claw from himself, so he could fill the role of a person from one of Sandwich's prophecies.

    Video Games 
  • Bang Shishigami of BlazBlue has one of these within his massive collection of uber-manly characteristics.
  • Sue from Cave Story has one of these across the bridge of her nose.
  • Glenn in Chrono Cross. Due to Sprite Mirroring, it's hard to say whether he has these on both cheeks or just one. And this is only the kid brother of the really heroic knight.
  • Dusty, the titular protagonist of Dusty Revenge have an X-shaped scar on his cheek, which he received the night his fiancée dies. He spends the rest of the game kicking ass and seeking revenge with the scar visible.
  • Ouendan's Spiritual Sequel Elite Beat Agents has Commander Khan. Slightly more understandable, since he was a former CIA agent, but not by much.
  • Zack Fair of Final Fantasy VII fame has one of these on his cheek. Crisis Core shows how he got it... but strangely it only shows him getting one cut on his cheek.
  • Final Fantasy XV: In a "two separate wounds" example, Gladiolus Amicitia starts the game with a vertical scar along the left side of his face. He separates from the party for a chapter, and when he gets back, he's received another, horizontal cut across his forehead. Episode Gladiolus shows that the latter cut was received in his duel with the Blademaster during the final battle of the DLC; dialogue at the end of the episode reveals the former cut was received defending Noctis from a bully prior to the events of the game.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Hero the, uh, hero, from Jitsu Squad have an X-shaped scar on his forehead. His main nemesis in the game, Dash Kobayashi meanwhile have a scar on his nose, but that's a straight cut instead.
  • Inverted in Kingdom Hearts, as Saix has a big ol' X right across the bridge of his nose, and he's not a heroic sorta guy. We later learn that he's been slowly turning into yet another Xehanort host for some time, and Xehanort's obsession with that letter involves using it to brand his "property". This raises some worrying questions about how he got that scar...
  • Two of the protagonists in Live A Live have x-shaped scars on their cheek; Mecha Chapter protagonist Akira Tadokoro and partymember/possible protagonist provided she survives Lei Kugo. Akira's is easily seen in what official art of the game exists, but Li's only gets seen if she's selected as the main character for the final chapter, in which case the player will be treated to a shot of her face after the credits.
  • Three characters of Live A Live sport X-shaped scars on their body: Lei on her left cheek, Akira on his forehead, and Matsu on his chest.
  • Mass Effect allows the player to give Shepard this particular scar. Mordin Solus also has one.
  • Mega Man X's Axl has one of these. Why, as a robot, he hasn't had them fixed up is never even brought up. However, it does heal when using his White Armor in X8.
  • Doumeki Kai of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan has this. One wonders where he got it, since he is, after all, head of a cheerleading squad.
  • Reiji from Persona is seemingly just another violent delinquent, but the cross scar on his forehead highlights his possible status as a heroic party member.
  • Skullgirls:
    • Painwheel's mask usually hides these scars, but in instances where we see her without it, you can see that the areas where the mask was stitched on to her face have caused a large X-shaped mark to form across her face.
    • Leduc bears two X-shaped scars, visible in one of his talksprites in Big Band's storymode. They're situated on his lower cheeks on either side of his mouth, making them sort of similar to a Glasgow Grin.
    • Amusingly, Isaac appears to have one of these in his hair.
  • This is an option for custom characters in Soul Calibur 3
  • The bosses in Splatoon all have this, though it is in a Hero of Another Story sense. While desiring revenge for losing the Great Turf War a century prior to the events of the first game, the military campaigns that reignited the conflict are also motivated by perceived necessity: after living underground for decades, the Octarians are running out of power and are at risk of dying out, while the Inklings arguably have an overabundance of energy.
  • An option for the Player Characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic is a large, uneven cross over the right eye and the nose. It is not exclusive to the "good guys", but the players are — even at their most evil — invariably the "heroes" of the story.
  • Raven from Tekken has the two scars in the middle of his face, meeting above the nose.
  • Oscar, a sniper from Valkyria Chronicles, sports one of these on the left side of his forehead. He acquired it when he protected his brother in an unexplained incident from when they were children. Musaad, a scout, also sports a similar one in the same place. His scar likely came from his involvement in the previous war in the backstory of the game, him being a famous war veteran and all.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has Riki, who has a large X shaped scar-like mark in his fluffy Nopon stomach. Why he has it is never brought up, but it sure is appropriate for the Nopon with the title of Heropon.

    Visual Novels 
  • The entire Kuki family in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! have X-shaped scars on their forehead Even the illegitimate Monshiro made herself a scar to fit in the family.

    Web Comics 
  • Deus in Grrl Power has what looks like an X-shaped scar across his face. Being a Magnificent Bastard villain rather than a hero, he makes it look good, and scores bonus points for making it part of a pun — he’s Deus, with an X, who runs Machina Industries.
  • Hanna has an X-shaped scar, but it's not on his face, it's on the sole of his foot. (He might have one on each foot, it's hard to tell.) X shapes are a motif of the comic in general and Hanna in particular; it's anyone's guess how much of it is related to Hanna's Mysterious Past and how much is just because Tessa likes to draw cross shapes.
  • Sir Muir, in the webcomic Harkovast has scars crossing over his right eye.
  • I'm the Grim Reaper: While calling Scarlet a hero is a stretch, the x-shaped scar on her mouth is unique and makes her more noticeable, especially regarding Case X.
  • Aqua Regia: Has the protagonist, having an X-shaped scar that he hides with his long hair, in Chapter 7 it's revealed that he got it at the end of his conscript year, because a friend and mentor of his was about to be raped due the fact he was homosexual, something that's sadly Truth in Television. Daniel jumped at the guys and saved him, but he ended up tortured instead. Months later, his then girlfriend tells him that he should be proud of that scar, because even if he got desfigured, he did the right thing.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Breaking glass, usually of the sort where it was forcefully stabled into someone, can make miniaturized versions of these types of wounds. In this case the shards breaking off and being forced outward cases a shape like this, although less or more than four "spokes" are also common. If the wound heals it can form a smaller version of this trope, though who is to say if they are heroic.
  • X-shaped scars did and do apparently appear on the sorts of people whose living takes them in the path of people wielding blades of all descriptions. Turns out a lot of people will instinctively try to cut the same area in rapid succession and back in the old days you had to focus on any vulnerable areas you could get. However the cheek is one of least likely for this to happen. A single swipe that connects with the cheek is likely to cut all the way through and a subsequent strike wouldn't make a clean line on the floppy dangling cheek bits after things were all stitched back together. You're welcome for that imagery.


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